OPLAN 1003 is the United States Department of Defense strategy for an invasion of Iraq. It has existed since Saddam Hussein was identified as an enemy of the United States, and assumes that a war with Iraq would emerge from an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait or Saudi Arabia. The current version is, as you might expect, classified, but we know the following from past versions:

The plan is instituted on C-Day, arbitrarily defined as the first day Iraq exhibits some form of threatening action. Five days after C-Day, aircraft and airborne units are deployed to forward bases within the zone of Centcom: Dharan, Al Jubayl, Kuwait City, King Khalid Military City, and Ad Dammam. The Navy sends ships into the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf. At C+45, ground troops start arriving, and around C+80, C4I units move in.

The plan does not continue until D-Day, which originally indicated the date that Iraq invaded Saudi Arabia or Kuwait. In the impending invasion of Iraq, D-Day will likely be a date designated by the White House.

Achieving air superiority is the first priority of the plan, and is estimated to require seven days of sorties. Once an air cover exists, the Marines rush in, followed by the Army. Navy ships move into the Persian Gulf to provide additional guns.

At this point, OPLAN 1003 is open-ended, assuming that victory will take place when the Iraqi forces are systematically decimated. It is assumed that the current version of the plan includes a regime change strategy designed to take out Saddam, which would probably involve a large-scale attack on Basra, and then moving up the Tigris River and Euphrates River to Baghdad. The current plan also reportedly involves the use of fighters based at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, which would attack Iraq from over the northern no-fly zone.

May 1, 2003 - Yup, the U.S. military was pretty predictable. :)

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